The Evolution of E L James


In the end, James chooses a dress of her own that she brought from home, a long blue gown with a deep V-neck, which she bought for one of the “Fifty Shades” movie premieres.

As the frenzied makeover continues, Bush, James’s publicist, wants to discuss some potential viral marketing stunts to promote “The Mister.” One of her ideas, which was quickly discarded, was to beam a pink light from a lighthouse in Cornwall, a coastal county where some of the steamiest scenes of the novel take place. But “the lighthouse people” objected, since a hot pink lighthouse could pose a hazard to ships, Bush says.

James agrees it isn’t worth causing a nautical disaster.

“The lighthouse idea is very sweet, but not if it endangers life,” James says.

The publicist’s next suggestion is less perilous. She proposes hiring a pianist to play in the middle of Sloane Square, since the novel’s heroine is a piano prodigy. James loves the idea.

“A female pianist then?” Bush asks.

“Definitely,” James replies.

“I’m on it,” Bush says, pecking at her phone.

James gently suggests that she makes sure the piano is tuned.

After the photo shoot, James sips a Negroni at the hotel bar, blissfully anonymous. She rarely gets recognized by strangers, and jokes that she wants to start a spy agency staffed by middle-aged women.

“You can go absolutely anywhere, you’re invisible,” she says.

She worries that the coming publicity blitz for “The Mister” will leave her too exposed. Not long ago, a fan approached her in public, which she took as a bad sign.



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